In a decade of tuning into Awesome Games Done Quick, I've seen runners speed through gaming history while blindfolded, with hands tied behind their backs, and even two runners sharing a single controller, but I've never seen what happened today at AGDQ 2024: a dog and his owner teamed up to speedrun an NES classic live, and they smashed it.
The dog is an adorable Shiba Inu named Peanut Butter, and his owner is speedrunner JSR. Together, the pair ran Gyromite (in Game B mode), a 1985 Nintendo platformer that launched with the NES, using a custom-made dog-friendly controller with large colored buttons. Amazingly, Peanut Butter got it done in 26 minutes and 24 seconds, with only a single game over and minimal breaks for belly scratches.
While JSR guided Peanut Butter with hand signals, credit really does belong to his very good boy for pressing the right buttons exactly when needed. PB's controller sports big red and blue buttons that correspond to the pipes they open in Gyromite to guide the sleepwalking scientist through levels. Open the wrong pipe or release a button too early and the scientist gets squished. Thankfully, Peanut Butter is an experienced professional and only gave up a few deaths over almost half an hour. JSR says Peanut Butter's skills are the result of "a year of training, every single day" to press and hold buttons with accuracy.
When you see it in action, it's clear why JSR chose Gyromite for the run: the simplistic platformer was originally designed to be controlled by the NES add-on R.O.B. The Robot, a motorized robo companion who could slowly press A or B on his own. Since the scientist in Gyromite moves right automatically, all ROB (or Peanut Butter) has to do is make sure the correct pipes are open as he approaches. Not that it can't get tricky. A few levels required that Peanut Butter press a yellow button on his controller to open both pipes at once. No problem for a good boy, except the yellow button was a smaller target and JSR indicated that the game was having trouble reading PB's input.
The yellow button mishap accounted for most of the brief hiccups in the run—that, as well as a few times when PB took a break to scratch his belly or do a little twirl in place. He was excited! We all were.
It was an impressive showing. There's nothing particularly difficult about Gyromite, but Peanut Butter's unshakeable concentration and dexterity in holding down buttons for upwards of 10 seconds was something to behold. Every time Peanut Butter beat a level he'd get a cheesy or meaty treat. When he beat a hard level, he got extra kibble. At the end of the run, JSR showered Peanut Butter in celebratory scratches as he addressed the AGDQ audience.
"He is the bestest dog that I've ever had the pleasure of calling my dog, and I'm so proud of him," he said. "He was my pandemic dog, and now he's my best friend."
Peanut Butter made a big splash in his AGDQ debut. The donations poured in nonstop during the run and GDQ is even selling an official "Good Boy" shirt to commemorate it. Though, this was hardly PB's first appearance in the speedrunning scene. JSR has streamed a few other NES games with PB at the controls—just a few months ago, PB knocked out Punchout's Glass Joe in a single swing. Peanut Butter: robot understudy, talented amateur boxer.